Saturday, February 10, 2007

Assessing Board Learning Needs – The Process

The Laramie nonprofit learning needs assessment was launched in the fall of 2006. Two research questions drove the online survey:

• What are board members’ perceived learning needs regarding core responsibilities and governance capacities?
• What are board members’ learning preferences, learning and professionally?

I wanted to see if members of local nonprofit boards share any common interests and learning needs and whether they would be open to community-level opportunities if they were available. I sought information on their preferences as adult learners and on their perceived confidence in understanding critical topics of governance.

Fourteen nonprofit boards received invitations to take part in the online survey. Eight of those groups agreed to participate. Of 78 possible survey respondents, 50 individuals (64 percent) logged in and offered their insights. The respondents were:

• Primarily female (76 percent)
• Highly educated (82 percent bachelor’s degree or above)
• Experienced (average 3.51 years on the participating board)
• Involved (serving on an average 2.3 nonprofit boards simultaneously)

The survey instrument focused on two areas: the content of nonprofit board development and adult learning preferences. Next time, I’ll describe which topics board members expressed a higher level of confidence and which represent opportunities for additional exploration. In the meantime, please offer your best prediction: which area(s) do you think topped the list?

2 comments:

Nancy A. said...

Nice blog!

--Nancy

Debra Beck said...

Thanks, Nancy! I'm anxious to have some feedback on not only the blog but the data that will be presented in the early entries. Is there truly interest in developing some learning opportunities for local boards? If so, what might those look like?

Please check back again soon and offer your thoughts on what you see here.